Chinese President Xi Jinping walks along the red carpet in front of a Guard of Honour at the Presidential Palace during his visit to Dakar, Senegal July 21, 2018. Source: Reuters
A TOP CIA expert on Asia recently claimed China is using all its resources to replace the US as the world’s leading superpower through a “quiet kind of cold war”.
During the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, CIA’s East Asia mission centre deputy assistant director, Michael Collins, said China is taking on subtle approaches on multiple fronts to undermine the US, but the methods vary from Russia’s activities which were better publicised.
“I would argue … that what they’re waging against us is fundamentally a cold war — a cold war not like we saw during THE Cold War (between the U.S. and the Soviet Union) but a cold war by definition,” he said, as quoted by the Associated Press.
China has often been blamed for the theft of business and defence secrets as well as sensitive information on high-tech research, while its occupation of various outposts in the disputed South China Sea islands is seen as a sign of the rapid expansion of its military.
“I would argue that it’s the Crimea of the East,” Collins said.
The CIA expert’s remarks echoed earlier warnings by other speakers at the security conference.
The US has also sought the assistance of China in averting a nuclear standoff with North Korea.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said China was the biggest threat to America in terms of counterintelligence as economic espionage cases on all 50 states were traced back to the Asian superpower.
“The volume of it. The pervasiveness of it. The significance of it is something that I think this country cannot underestimate,” Wray said.
With China having the second-largest defence budget in the world, former undersecretary of defence for intelligence, Marcel Lettre, said the country also had the largest standing army of ground forces and the third-largest air force.
China also has a navy of 300 ships and more than 60 submarines.
“All of this is in the process of being modernized and upgraded,” Lettre said.
Earlier this month the two economic giants imposed duties on some US$34 billion worth of each other’s imports, with China accusing the President Donald Trump’s administration of starting the “largest-scale trade war.”
In April, China’s military posturing over the conflict in Syria sparked fears that it would trigger World War III.
The same month, China held a live-fire drill in the Taiwan Strait following the staging of its biggest naval parade in the country’s history.
The drill was meant to show support to Beijing’s strategic Partner, Russia, which is heavily involved in the seven-year-long civil war in Syria.